Prompt Palliative Care Saves Money, Especially in Sickest Patients

According to Medpage Today, an international study has showed that providing a palliative care consultation shortly after admission in patients with a complex illness will shorten their hospital stay and provide significant cost savings, particularly for patients with cancer and/or multiple comorbidities.

Results from a meta-analysis conducted by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin showed that adding a palliative care consultation to routine care within 3 days of hospital admission saved an average of U.S. $3,237 per patient when compared with patients who did not receive palliative care.

The economic impact of prompt palliative care was greatest in patients with a diagnosis of cancer compared with those with a non-cancer diagnosis, reported Peter May, PhD, of the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin, and colleagues, in the study online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Palliative care was associated with a cost savings per hospital stay of $4,251 per cancer patient and $2,105 per hospital stay for patients diagnosed with a non-cancer illness (both P<0.001). The analysis also showed that the impact of palliative care on the length and cost of hospital stay was also more significant in patients with four or more comorbidities compared with those with two or fewer comorbidities, regardless of the primary diagnosis.

“Our results suggest that acute care hospitals may be able to reduce costs for this population by increasing palliative care capacity to meet national guidelines,” the team wrote. Click here to read more.

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